Friday, July 3, 2009
Insurgents have captured an American soldier in eastern Afghanistan after he walked off post with his three Afghan counterparts, officials said Thursday.
Spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said the soldier disappeared Tuesday. The U.S. military is offering a $25,000 reward to any Afghan national for information about the soldier's whereabouts.
"We have all available resources out there looking for him and hopefully providing for his safe return," Mathias said.
There are indications that the soldier who was captured was "disaffected" and that he left the base to meet up with several Afghan nationals who were members of the security forces that he had been working with to train, one U.S. defense official tells FOX News.
"He was not of sound mind when he did what he did. Not smart," the official said.
The soldier was handed over to the Haqqani network, a group with ties to the Taliban, and the same group that captured New York Times correspondent David Rhode.
U.S. officials believe the soldier is still being held in Afghanistan - and has not crossed into Pakistan's Waziristan province.
Maulvi Sangin, who claims to speak for the Taliban in the province, said that the U.S. soldier was seized when he and the others were on their way to the Yousafkhel security checkpost, and took them to a secret location, according to an Afghan news Web site obtained by MEMRI, The Middle East Media Research Institute. Sangin claimed the abducted soldiers were drunk when captured by the Taliban.
U.S. officials could not confirm that these claims are true, and not Taliban propaganda.
The news broke as thousands of U.S. Marines launched a major anti-Taliban offensive in southern Afghanistan. The missing soldier was not part of that operation.
"We are not providing further details to protect the soldier's well-being," she said.
Let pray for his safe return